Tuesday, October 14, 2008
pottery in action: Le plum torte with apples
(plate and torte by Gary Rith)
My SIL Emily is a union carpenter in Manhattan. She worked on the AOL Time Warner building, whatever they ended up calling it. Currently she is on a school project, so they show up as the kids are leaving, and spend the night fixing windows and such.
Well, some folks asked for the apple tart or torte recipe I pictured yesterday. BUT I usually ignore such requests because I like to keep an air of mystery around me, and I figure if YOU come over, I can wow you with my pastries, and you won't ever know how simple they are.
So, Emily calls from the school where the evening's work is about to begin, and asks for the recipe, which came from my wife's, and Emily's aunt, but originally from their grandmother. YES! A family recipe. My wife's family were from East Prussia, that piece of Germany around Danzig which has gone back and forth for generations. East Prussia and Danzig are now known as western Poland and Gdansk, generally.
Anyway, my wife's grandparents had come to New York from Germany in the late 20s to practice as a doctor, but in 1931 or so they returned to Berlin so that he could start a surgical residency. The writing was on the wall, and although they were not Jewish or any other group immediately targeted in 1934, you had to be a member of the party to advance in the hospital, and they fortunately returned to New York, with their plum torte recipe and my mother-in-law and aunt in-law, who were just little kids.
OK, so that's where this recipe comes from, and it is wicked simple, really:
(btw--I do 95 percent of the cooking and baking in this house, because I am the house husband, and the missus does the more complex things that strike her fancy on weekends when she has time--my aunt in-law gave me this recipe around the time we got married because I loved it so much)
Preheat oven to 350.
Put 1/2 cup butter or margerine in a bowl and soften in the wave for about 25-30 seconds. Add 2 eggs and STIR madly untill nicely mixed, then add 3/4 cup sugar and stir madly. Add one cup flour and one teaspoon baking powder and stir madly until nicely combined.
Grease an 8 x 8 baking pan or I use a round one that is probably 10 inches diameter. Put all the dough/batter in there evenly. I chopped one huge apple and pushed all the pieces into the top of the batter this week, but for the original you cut a number of fresh plums in half and push them into the top of the dough. Sprinkle some sugar on top.
Bake 35-60 minutes, until edges are brown and it has cooked evenly and a toothpick poked in comes out clean. The margerine I used seems to cut the baking time hugely, so watch it!
Posted by Gary's third pottery blog at 4:00 PM